Coronavirus: Unruly mob attacks health workers in Bengaluru, 59 arrested
A team of health workers and police personnel were attacked in West Bengaluru last evening when they had gone to quarantine dozens of people who had come in contact with three coronavirus patients. As the despicable attack sparked outrage, police swung to action and arrested a total of 59 people. At least four FIRs have been registered under relevant sections of IPC.
58 people had to be quarantined, most resisted
The incident happened in Padarayanapura, a minority-dominated locality, which is a containment zone. In total, health officials had to take 58 people to a quarantine facility. While the first batch of 15 went seamlessly, the second trip wasn't as easy. The three who tested positive in the area had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in New Delhi last month.
Mob stopped team from doing its job
The team reached the area at around 7 pm when 100-200 people gathered and tried removing the barricades, put up to demarcate the area. Some of them said they should be quarantined as they might have caught the infection too. There were others who demanded the local MLA to visit and asked why people can't be quarantined at their homes.
Officials were assaulted, so were locals who rushed to help
The locals had a skirmish with BBMP officials and ASHA workers. Most of those who lodged a protest were young. To stop the violence from escalating, police cut off the power supply and whisked the officials away. PTI said that some locals who went to rescue the front line workers were also thrashed. The rampage went on for some time.
Here are the visuals from the spot
Unrest in Padarayanapura: Over 100 people gathered on the streets of Padarayanapura on Sunday night and began breaking the barricades.— Bangalore Mirror (@BangaloreMirror) April 19, 2020
Read more: https://t.co/0CEzx9ISgw pic.twitter.com/X6yN6Mc7KH
Over 50 were arrested, most are history sheeters
Four FIRs were registered under IPC Sections 353 and 307 and NDMA 352, 324 and 201 at the Jagajeevanram Nagar police station. On the incident, Additional Commissioner of Police (West) Soumendu Mukherjee said a rowdy woman sheeter named Firoza has also been arrested. "Most of them already have cases in various police stations. Based on the CCTV footage, we have arrested them," he said.
Where were you?: Basavaraj Bommai took senior cops to task
Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said such an incident would not be tolerated. He visited the area and pulled up senior officials for not being present. "Where were you? What were you doing when the incident happened? We will demonstrate to the people what is containment zone, what is seal down and what is a police action," he reportedly said.
Attack was condemned across political lines
The attack was also berated by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and his political adversaries Siddaramaiah and HD Kumaraswamy. Siddaramaiah tweeted, "Police, doctors and health workers are working hard by putting public safety over their personal health. It is the duty of everyone to co-operate with them." And minority leaders asked state Congress President DK Shivakumar to persuade people to help in COVID-19 battle.
Attacks on health workers are becoming worryingly common
The attacks on health workers aren't restricted to Karnataka. Not long ago, stones were pelted at a team, including doctors, in Indore. This morning, the Centre asked all the states to ensure frontline workers are safe. "Incidents of violence on frontline healthcare professionals; violations of social distancing norms; the movement of vehicles in urban areas" pose a threat to war against coronavirus, Centre said.